Posts Tagged ‘mobile devices’


News in our Digital Lives: “Old” Media Still Matters

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Amy Mitchell PEW Research Center Project for Excellence in JournalismA couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Amy Mitchell speak in St. Louis at the annual joint meeting of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and Community Service Public Relations Council (CSPRC), of which BurrellesLuce was a sponsor. Mitchell, a native of St. Louis, is the deputy director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEW PEJ).

Mitchell spoke to a group of roughly 250 communicators about the new news consumer and media trends for 2011.  It was an intensive presentation complete with plenty of charts, graphs and statistics. I won’t attempt to recap everything that was addressed but, here are some of my key takeaways:

  • No surprise that there is more news consumed now than a decade ago with 33 percent of Americans getting news via mobile devices, and 92 percent reporting the use of multiple platforms to get their news.
  • Internet is closing in but 74 percent still go to television for national and international news.
  • More of us “graze” for news with two minutes and 30 seconds being the average session per site, down from three minutes and six seconds last year – compared to about a half an hour with a daily newsprint product.
  • Sixty-two percent of internet users are on social media, and 77 percent of social network users get their news there.
  • Facebook is the third most popular referral site for news articles – following only Google and the original news site.

Contrary to those naysayers that keep saying print media is dead, this “old” media still provides most of our news!  In one American city (Baltimore), a whopping 92 percent of new content came from “old” media, proving that the published story is just the beginning of its life cycle.

There are lots of new players in the news game: citizens, non-profits, patch (local), commercial entities, corporate communications, newsmakers, privately funded sites, lobby and special interest groups. However, those producing news today have less control than ever in history. 

Mitchell said, “While news in the 21st century offers greater freedom today than ever to take part in the news conversations, it brings with it greater effort and responsibility.” 

So what does all this mean to you?  Obviously social networks are a very important distribution channel, but PR professionals must adapt to the “new” journalism – as a service, not a product that is platform specific. Communicators must be transparent with corporate messaging. What is your organization doing to adapt to the changing media landscape?

What Do You Do When You Find Yourself at the Center of a Negative Story in the Media?

Friday, June 25th, 2010

In ancient China, soldiers would warn against impending attacks by sending smoke signals from tower to tower up to 300 miles away within just a few hours; In 1775, Paul Revere used his vocal chords and a horse on his “midnight ride” to warn of the British invasion and in the 1800’s Samuel Morse used a type of character encoding system to send 20 words per minute via radio.

Today, in just a few typed lines and a few clicks, stories are being spread around the world through social networking sites circling the globe in a matter of seconds. And the vivid details from personal accounts through citizen journalism and the proliferation of camera phones are adding more truth and authenticity to these stories. In some cases the immediacy and extra scrutiny can lead to positive things (e.g., shedding light on last summer’s Iranian protests). In others, it can be

Image: sinotechblog.com.cndevastating for the main character or brand – causing irreparable harm to their reputations. The BP oil spill in the Gulf, the English goalies blunder against the U.S. team in the opening round of this year’s  World Cup, or any Lindsey Lohan story these days are just a few stories that go against the old PR adage, “Any publicity is good publicity as long as you spell my name right.”   

Celebrities have been putting up with this type of scrutiny, to some degree, for years with paparazzi constantly photographing unsuspecting beach goers wearing unflattering bathing suits or in compromising positions. But when it happens to our politicians, business leaders, corporations, athletes or just everyday people, how does one cope with the instant barrage of viral videos, bloggers, or tweeters, and the repercussions that follow? At least bad weather would force the ancient smoke signalers to take a break every now and then. Barring a colossal Internet crash, today’s perpetual flow of information continues to tarnish reputations worldwide (and many times rightfully so).

 Today crisis communications is becoming increasingly difficult with public relations and marketing people scrambling to keep up with today’s technology.  One lesson that Southwest Airlines taught the PR community back in February is to always keep a close eye on what the media, especially social media, is saying about your company. When movie director Kevin Smith was kicked off a Southwest Flight on Feb 18, 2010, essentially for being too fat, he tweeted about the episode and the next day the story was all over the Internet. However, Southwest wasted no time and offered an apology to Smith via Twitter and posted an explanation of their policy on its own blog before the story started to trend.

Maybe there should be an island for all the victims of negative social media fall out, where they can live in solitude and where there are no computers, web access, or mobile devices until their names are mercifully pushed down the search engine results list.  Even then, it probably wouldn’t take long before helicopters were swirling overhead taking video and instantly downloading the footage online.  A more practical approach would be to prevent the crisis from spreading further by paying close attention to what is being said in all forms of media and to who’s saying it.

The “who are you with attitude?” is old school now. So how are you preparing your clients and executives for “the every one is a reporter mentality?” Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

American Television Creating Global Brands Through Overseas Expansion

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
Image: Collider.com

Image: Collider.com

On a recent trip to Colombia (South America), after a long day of sightseeing, I thought I’d switch on the TV with the hope of maybe catching an American baseball game … Instead, I found an episode of MTV Network’s “Jersey Shore.” As if it wasn’t surprising enough that this show recently became a television phenomenon in the states, I found out it was also number one on pay television in Colombia amongst 18-24 year olds, as well as in Mexico.

American television companies are penetrating international markets at a rapid pace and are leveraging multiple platforms, turning their creations into global brands or “multi platform franchises.” “Transmedia storytelling,” where multiple platforms are used to create varying entry points to the story while sticking to the main narrative, is a huge contributing factor in expanding these franchises. Additional revenue, created by linking video and computer games, mobile devices, and websites to the show, in turn helps entertainment companies offset high production costs. “Once people fall in love with a brand they want to interact with it in all sorts of ways,” says Tony Cohen, the head of Fremantle Media.

Transmedia storytelling is nothing new to entertainment – movie studios have used it for years making Spider-Man and Harry Potter as recognizable worldwide as Coke or McDonald’s. Avatar, Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster hit of 2009, grossed $747 million in the states and a whopping $2.7 billion worldwide, surpassing Titanic’s overseas box office record.

McDonald’s created Internet- based games and a sweepstakes around Avatar that included a private screening of the film among other prizes. “They’re realizing that the demographic they’re targeting isn’t using traditional media as much as they used to,” said Jeff Farmer, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. in Boston.

As the Vice President of media and entertainment at BurrellesLuce I follow the television and movie industries very closely. A little break while traveling abroad would be nice, however, “Hollywood” seems to be everywhere these days.

What do you think? Is Hollywood and U.S. television over saturating the digital space? Are you using “transmedia” to engage and connect with your audience? What industry beyond entertainment do you think has crossed over with an effective use of transmedia public relations, marketing or advertising?